GET THE FACTS
Lou Dobbs, more than any other media personality, is responsible for spreading myths and misinformation about immigrants and Latinos. Below is an overview of some of his worst offenses.
Dobbs regularly makes false statements about immigrants.
- Immigrants and disease. Dobbs helps popularize the myth that Latino immigrants are flooding the United States with disease. For example, Dobbs falsely reported an explosion of 7,000 cases of leprosy in the United States in the past three years, and blamed Latino immigrants for the perceived increase.1 The statistic, which was sourced to a radical right-wing author, has been thoroughly debunked.2
- Immigrants as criminals. Dobbs has claimed that “Illegal immigration is costing this country at least a hundred billion dollars a year in depressed wages, social costs, the cost of incarcerating. Just about a third of our prison system is made up of illegal aliens.”3 The statistic has been contradicted by the U.S. Department of Justice, which reports that immigrants make up a tiny proportion of the US prison population.4
Dobbs promotes fringe conspiracy theories designed to raise fears about immigrants and Latinos.
- The Reconquista. Dobbs often reports on the “Reconquista” movement, a supposed Mexican effort to reconquer the southwestern United States. At one point, Dobbs used evidence from a white supremacist group to make his case.5 This myth, which has been discredited as a fringe view, is a blatant attempt to characterize Mexican immigrants as “invaders,” as opposed to what the vast majority are: job seekers.
- North American Union. Dobbs repeatedly raises fear about alleged efforts to create a “North American Union,” between the United States, Canada and Mexico, despite the fact that the notion has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by politicians and media outlets across the political spectrum, including Dobbs’ CNN colleagues.
Dobbs consistently promotes the views of extremist groups.
- Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Dobbs has regularly featured the hate group FAIR on his show, and even joined FAIR at its lobbying event in Washington on September 15 and 16.
- The Minutemen. Dobbs has stated his unequivocal support for the vigilante Minutemen movement, saying: “I support the Minuteman Project and the fine Americans who make it up in all they’ve accomplished, fully, relentlessly, and proudly.”6
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio. While Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is being denounced as a violent racist by elected officials and Latino leaders throughout the country7, Lou Dobbs wants to see more Joe Arpaios, calling him “a model for the whole country.”8
- The Birther Movement. Dobbs has used his CNN program to promote thoroughly discredited rumors about President Obama not being born in the United States.
1. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN.com, http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0504/14/ldt.01.html, April 14, 2005.
2. MALDEF “Leprosy and Lou: Fact-Checking Lou Dobbs,” http://www.maldef.org/truthinimmigration/leprosy_and_lou_fact-checking_lou_dobbs3202008/, Accessed September 14, 2009.
3. American Morning, CNN.com http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0603/28/ltm.04.html March 28. 2006
4. David Leonhardt, "Immigrants and Prison," New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/business/30leonside.html, May 30, 2007.
5. Alex Koppelman, "CNN Stands by Lou Dobbs' Racist Fantasies," The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-
koppelman/cnn-stands-by-lou-dobbs-r_b_21617.html, May 26, 2006
6. Lou Dobbs Tonight, Transcript from CNN.com, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/09/ldt.01.html, December 9, 2009
7. “Sign the Petition to Investigate Sheriff Joe Arpaio” MALDEF,
http://maldef.org/truthinimmigration/sign_the_petition_to_investigate02262009/ , Accessed September 13, 2009
8. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN.com, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0704/30/ldt.01.html, April 30, 2007